Every investor would love to stumble upon the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that provides everything you could possibly want?

One thing's for sure: You'll never discover truly great investments unless you actively look for them. Let's discuss the ideal qualities of a perfect stock, then decide if Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) fits the bill.

The quest for perfection
Stocks that look great based on one factor may prove horrible elsewhere, making due diligence a crucial part of your investing research. The best stocks excel in many different areas, including these important factors:

  • Growth. Expanding businesses show healthy revenue growth. While past growth is no guarantee that revenue will keep rising, it's certainly a better sign than a stagnant top line.
  • Margins. Higher sales mean nothing if a company can't produce profits from them. Strong margins ensure that company can turn revenue into profit.
  • Balance sheet. At debt-laden companies, banks and bondholders compete with shareholders for management's attention. Companies with strong balance sheets don't have to worry about the distraction of debt.
  • Money-making opportunities. Return on equity helps measure how well a company is finding opportunities to turn its resources into profitable business endeavors.
  • Valuation. You can't afford to pay too much for even the best companies. By using normalized figures, you can see how a stock's simple earnings multiple fits into a longer-term context.
  • Dividends. For tangible proof of profits, a check to shareholders every three months can't be beat. Companies with solid dividends and strong commitments to increasing payouts treat shareholders well.

With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Sirius XM Radio.


What We Want to See


Pass or Fail?


5-Year Annual Revenue Growth > 15%




1-Year Revenue Growth > 12%




Gross Margin > 35%




Net Margin > 15%



Balance Sheet

Debt to Equity < 50%




Current Ratio > 1.3




Return on Equity > 15%




Normalized P/E < 20




Current Yield > 2%




5-Year Dividend Growth > 10%




Total Score


4 out of 10

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Total score = number of passes.

Since we looked at Sirius XM Radio last year, the company has picked up a point, although the gain came from rising net margins resulting solely from a big one-time tax benefit. Still, the shares have soared, rising nearly 60% over the past year.

Sirius' strength has resulted largely from its ongoing appeal to its satellite-radio customers. With the company having implemented a 12% rate increase a year ago, many feared that Sirius would lose subscribers in the same way that similar moves at Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) enraged customers. Yet the higher rates haven't increased turnover, and net subscriber additions have remained strong.

Moreover, the threat of streaming radio had little of the negative impact on Sirius that many analysts had expected. Pandora (NYSE:P) has grown at a much faster clip than Sirius in terms of active listeners, and with the entrance of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox Music and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) expected to follow suit in the near future, streaming is only going to get more popular, and Sirius will need to step up with its own offering to defend its turf.

One lingering question Sirius investors need answered is what major shareholder Liberty Media intends to do with its big position in the company. With some expecting an outright takeover while others look for Liberty to divest its stake through a spinoff, clarity would help remove one source of uncertainty for the company and its shareholders.

Sirius has plenty of potential to keep reaching for perfection, especially if it can keep growing and find ways to monetize a streaming service. Shares are highly valued on an earnings-multiple basis, but for growth investors, Sirius remains an attractive stock even at current levels.

Keep searching
No stock is a sure thing, but some stocks are a lot closer to perfect than others. By looking for the perfect stock, you'll go a long way toward improving your investing prowess and learning how to separate out the best investments from the rest. 

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Netflix. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Microsoft, and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.